TRACY - The building sat vacant for about a year. But now, the former Tracy Nursing Home is ready for some new and different occupants.
On Wednesday night, Park Place On 2nd Street, a short-term housing facility developed by three local residents, opened its doors to the public.
Art Peterson, Dennis Fultz and Jay Fultz bought the nursing home this past winter, and have since completed renovations to turn it into rental housing. Park Place On 2nd Street is aimed at tenants like construction workers on the Highwater ethanol plant near Lamberton, who would be looking for temporary housing in the area.
Photo by Deb Gau
With a new name and a new purpose, the former Tracy Nursing Home was the site of an open house Wednesday night. Reminders of the building’s extensive history, like the Tracy Hospital logo on the floor (right), are still present.
"There really wasn't much we had to do," Jay Fultz said of the renovations. "It went really smoothly."
Tracy Nursing Home closed down in 2006 as part of a merger with Prairie View Healthcare Center.
The building was constructed in 1938 as the city hospital.
Art Peterson did a lot of the contracting work himself. He said the most drastic change made to the building was the construction of walls in parts of the nursing home hallways, to allow residents private access to bathrooms. The building was also updated with cable television and wireless Internet access.
"We tore out a lot of the old wiring. There were three different call systems from the hospital and the nursing home," Fultz said. They also added improved central air conditioning.
Peterson said subcontracting work went to local firms, too, including G & R Electric, Sahlstrom Plumbing and Heating, and drywall work by Dave Daniels.
"It's all local guys," he said.
There are 24 beds available in the facility, Jay Fultz said, with room for more in the future. The beds are meant to be rented out to groups of people, like construction crews. Clusters of two or three bedrooms are grouped together with their own bathroom and shower, Fultz said. Each grouping has its own private key access. A common room on the first floor of the building includes a television, exercise equipment and a pool table.
Visitors at the open house Wednesday included some of the nursing home's past staff members and residents.
"I like it," said Goldie Wilking, former administrator of the nursing home. "The rooms look so much bigger, but then they don't have extra chairs and dressers in them."
Jeanne Stanton said she was glad the nursing home was being put to use.
"It was too good of a building to leave sitting empty," she said.
Park Place's developers said they viewed the project as a chance to bring new people to Tracy and add to the local economy.
For example, Fultz said, there's no kitchen available to tenants of Park Place, "So they'll be going out to Food Pride, they'll be going to Subway, the Pit Stop and other places. It's going to have a really big impact."
Each of the rental units will also have a folder with information about local amenities, Fultz said.
Neighbors of the facility had voiced some concerns about the kind of tenants and traffic Park Place would attract, but Peterson said he didn't sense hard feelings now.
"I went and personally invited everyone to the open house, and it was all positive," Peterson said.